The Tarot High Priestess card meaning in a nutshell:
Secrets and hidden circumstances
stand in the way and need to be understood.
The Tarot High Priestess is the ruler of what's hidden and secret, the essence behind the scenes. She knows what really goes on. The High Priestess is not that eager to reveal it, though, at least not to those who are fooled by the superficial. You have to deserve the revelations to which she holds the keys.
The Tarot High Priestess card has a counterpart in that of the Hierophant, the pompous pope who is indeed powerful, but mainly carries the treasured symbols, having less to do with actual rulership. The High Priestess is the opposite - much more modest in appearance and rare in making public appearances, but still running the show. She can be compared to a grey eminence, someone in charge although not carrying the office.
The Tarot High Priestess guards the secrets and ensures the masterplan. In doing so, she knows to act with caution, very discreetly, and paying attention to details that are believe to be insignificant.
But it's in the shadows and the periphery that the future of the world is forged. The microcosm rules the macrocosm. The High Priestess is a master of the microcosm.
When the Tarot High Priestess card represents a person, it's someone who has the key to the solution, but holds on to it unless you are deemed worthy - and your intentions are the ones approved.
If the Tarot High Priestess card refers to an event, there's a complicated problem needing to be solved, almost like a riddle, and you must contemplate in order to see it. Others may not even realize that there is an obstacle, but if not recognized and dealt with, failure is certain - although it may come as a complete surprise and nobody knows why.
The original Grey Eminence: François Leclerc du Tremblay, right-hand man of Cardinal Richelieu in 17th century France. The ruler’s advisor in the shadows is a recurring theme, in myth as well as in reality. Painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1873.
A. E. Waite's Texts
2. The High Priestess, the Pope Joan, or Female Pontiff; early expositors have sought to term this card the Mother, or Pope's Wife, which is opposed to the symbolism. It is sometimes held to represent the Divine Law and the Gnosis, in which case the Priestess corresponds to the idea of the Shekinah. She is the Secret Tradition and the higher sense of the instituted Mysteries.
About the Tarot High Priestess Card
The Inner Symbolism of the Tarot High Priestess Card
She has the lunar crescent at her feet, a horned diadem on her head, with a globe in the middle place, and a large solar cross on her breast. The scroll in her hands is inscribed with the word Tora, signifying the Greater Law, the Secret Law and the second sense of the Word. It is partly covered by her mantle, to shew that some things are implied and some spoken. She is seated between the white and black pillars - J. and B. - of the mystic Temple, and the veil of the Temple is behind her: it is embroidered with palms and pomegranates. The vestments are flowing and gauzy, and the mantle suggests light - a shimmering radiance. She has been called occult Science on the threshold of the Sanctuary of Isis, but she is really the Secret Church, the House which is of God and man. She represents also the Second Marriage of the Prince who is no longer of this world; she is the spiritual Bride and Mother, the daughter of the stars and the Higher Garden of Eden. She is, in fine, the Queen of the borrowed light, but this is the light of all. She is the Moon nourished by the milk of the Supernal Mother.
In a manner, she is also the Supernal Mother herself - that is to say, she is the bright reflection. It is in this sense of reflection that her truest and highest name in bolism is Shekinah - the co-habiting glory. According to Kabalism, there is a Shekinah both above and below. In the superior world it is called Binah, the Supernal Understanding which reflects to the emanations that are beneath. In the lower world it is MaIkuth - that world being, for this purpose, understood as a blessed Kingdom that with which it is made blessed being the Indwelling Glory. Mystically speaking, the Shekinah is the Spiritual Bride of the just man, and when he reads the Law she gives the Divine meaning. There are some respects in which this card is the highest and holiest of the Greater Arcana.
Divinatory Meaning of the Tarot High Priestess Card
Secrets, mystery, the future as yet unrevealed; the woman who interests the Querent, if male; the Querent herself, if female; silence, tenacity; mystery, wisdom, science. Reversed: Passion, moral or physical ardour, conceit, surface knowledge.
The Tarot Major Arcana
- The Magician
- The High Priestess
- The Empress
- The Emperor
- The Hierophant
- The Lovers
- The Chariot
- The Hermit
- Wheel of Fortune
- The Hanged Man
- The Devil
- The Tower
- The Star
- The Moon
- The Sun
- The World
- The Fool
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